USPS Proposed Postage Rates for 2020

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The time has come, and the rates are in.

On October 9th the United States Postal Service (USPS) filed their proposed price changes with the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC). These proposed rates are set to take place at midnight on January 26, 2020.

The best news is that First-Class rates are staying pretty much the same. A First-Class stamp will continue to be only 55 cents.

Like clockwork, extra services are increasing in the Certified Mail fees area, with Certified Mail base fees going up a nickel.

And with each proposed rate increase, there is always a twist of some sort. This year, USPS is separating out extra ounces of flats from extra ounces of letters. These two have historically been tied at the hip with “extra ounces” simply being the same rate for any type of First-Class letter regardless of size. Now, any First-Class letter with physical dimensions larger than 11 ½ inches by 6 1/8  inches (11.5” X 6.125”), known as a Large Envelope, or Flat will see a $0.20 per additional ounce.

Here’s the list of items unchanged by the 2020 rates:

  • First-Class stamps staying at $0.55
  • First-Class Postcard Rate staying at $0.35
  • Extra Ounces staying at $0.15 (for letters, not flats)
  • Flat base rate staying at $1.00

And some items that are experiencing an increase, such as:

  • International Rates going up from $1.15 to $1.20
  • Certified Mail going up from $3.40 to $3.55
  • Return Receipt going up from $2.80 to $2.85
  • Electronic Return Receipt going up from $1.60 to $1.70
  • Registered Mail going up from $12.40 to $12.60
  • Flats Extra Ounces going up from $0.15 to $0.20

Sorry, this year we didn’t find any fees that went down for the products that we offer.

If you want to review the USPS press release, click here.

For the complete list of 2020 rate changes, click here and download the data files from the USPS website. Keep in mind, the Notice 123 for 2020 is still in review by the RPC and subject to change, but the USPS generally gets the rates they ask for.

We should remind you that LetterStream seldom ever raises our base rates, instead, we just increase prices by the amount of the USPS rate increase so you can expect the same this year as well. LetterStream will be implementing these changes on January 24th, 2020 by 5 PM, so plan ahead and get your jobs in our system before the 24th to get the past prices.

Las Vegas Debt Connection Symposium and Expo 2019

LetterStream

LetterStream takes on Vegas!

Come say Hi, and meet some of our LetterStream team. There are many ways that you can meet us, but in this case, all you have to do is stop by our booth. Were talking about the Las Vegas Debt Connection Symposium and Expo being hosted at the Red Rock Hotel, September 10th-12th, 2019. Our booth at this Expo will be stocked with our fantastic and passionate staff.

This Expo will be “focusing on networking and connection with clients, service providers, product suppliers, agencies, and attorneys- at a whole new level… This symposium and Expo’s concept is to have an opportunity to meet peers and other industry professionals, as well as finding new products and services that might make your job easier, better, more efficient, more productive, etc.”  (DCSE)

LetterStream is going to have staff on hand to explain why outsourcing print and mail projects makes the most sense, as well as showing how mail managers can get their important mailings out the door in as little as two minutes. We’re sure there will be many questions about how Certified Mail can be sent and tracked online without ever going to the post office, and will be more than happy to answer every last one of them.

Please stop in and see us about your first-class mailing, statement mailing, payment coupon booklet printing, FedEx letters, annual meeting notice, postcards, certified mail, and any other mailing projects that you might need for a better solution.

Be sure to stop by booth #202, and say hello. We will be awaiting your arrival. See you soon!

Welcome Ashlee, our New Customer Service Manager

Ashlee

Hold on, hold on, before you panic at this headline, Mike hasn’t left the LetterStream team.  He is now our Director of Customer Experience.  We figured that Mike could get a promotion if he could find someone just as awesome in customer service as he is.  That said, we didn’t think Mike would ever get a promotion.  Enter Ashlee.  We aren’t sure how Mike did it, but he actually found someone who can bring help and joy to customers as well as he can.  Ashlee has been with us a few months now, so some of you have already experienced her good nature, knowledge of our systems and overwhelming desire to help people out.

Ashlee has some 5-star training from Marriott hotels and resorts and has supported many different clients in an earlier payroll processing career.  These experiences are quite helpful to her on the job, but nothing can compare to the enthusiasm that she has to be a part of our team and her tremendous desire to support all of our customers.

Next time you call in, be sure and say “Hello and Welcome” to Ashlee.

Faster Mail through FedEx

 

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How Easy!

You already know that we are fast at printing and folding your documents and getting them in the mail, but some of you wish the United States Postal Service (USPS) could deliver mail as fast as we can prepare it.  Well, for those of you who never can get things as fast as you’d like or need, we just may have the answer.

You can now upload a PDF file of your letter or document within your LetterStream account and choose the FedEx Overnight Letter job type.  We’ll print your document, (not fold it), and put it in a FedEx overnight letter envelope.  And depending how early in the day you create and pay for your mailing, we might just be able to get your letter delivered the next business day.  Need your document mailed to many different addresses? Simply upload your mailing list (click here to learn how) and our sophisticated, yet simple, address mapping tool will help you pick the right fields for your mailing addresses.

How Fast!

Image this, you are in New York trying to get a proposal (or some other document with a deadline) delivered to Boston tomorrow.  Unfortunately it is already 5 pm in New York and its too late to get it in the mail.  But, if you load your document to the LetterStream website (where some months it will still be 2pm), we can print and mail your important documents and have them delivered to your recipient in Boston via FedEx by 3pm the next (business) day.  Between you and me, I call that extremely fast!

Currently we have an introductory flat rate price for anywhere in the US.  That makes for easy math and a simplified decision making process so you can focus on getting your job loaded instead of pondering all the different mailing and pricing options.

If you like fast, FedEx and LetterStream may be just what you are looking for to get your next mailing delivered quickly.

USPS Certified Mail Signature Delay

 

Certified Mail Return Receipt Delays ERR

USPS Delays ERR…

We are noticing delays in the speed at which the USPS returns electronic signatures for Certified Mail that are requested on their website, www.USPS.com. In a recent test (shown above), it was 48 hours before a signature was provided via email by the Postal Service.

As a quick refresher, if you need to get the signature for a piece of Certified Mail that you sent through the USPS, you typically need to follow these steps: Find your USPS cash register receipt with the tracking number, go to the United States Postal Service website (www.USPS.com), enter the tracking number from your receipt, click the link called “Return Receipt Electronic”, and enter your email address. Keep in mind, just because you see the link called “Return Receipt Electronic”, doesn’t mean your letter was delivered. If you click the link before a signature is available you’ll receive a response from the USPS (in maybe 2 days), but it will just tell you that a signature is not available yet. …That’s a bummer.

When you are dealing with the urgency and legal concerns that necessitate the use of Certified Mail with Return Receipt, you don’t always have time to wait around a few days for a signature the be emailed back to you.  If your attorney calls and says they need the signature, you want to get it right then.

Faster with LetterStream…

Here’s quite possibly a better way, let LetterStream handle your Certified Mail.  If you send your certified letters through our service you can retrieve a signature in a fraction of a second, maybe a half second on a slow day.  That’s assuming that the USPS has delivered the letter and collected a signature, of course.  You don’t have to find your receipt and you don’t have to enter a 20-digit tracking number, you simply click on the button that says “view”, which activates after we receive the signature from the USPS.

Ah, you might say, “but LetterStream has to wait on the USPS too”.  Well, that is partly true, but our automated servers are always communicating with USPS servers and as soon as we find signatures to the letters we print and mail for our clients, we save them to your account on our website. It’s kinda like having someone in your office (that you don’t pay) go out and check everyday for every certified letter that you still need a signature for and then save them on your network in the same folder as the letter that you sent.  In this way, if we do have a signature for your letter, you can get to it immediately.

Getting your Certified Mail signatures at LetterStream…

After you load your Certified Mail letter to our website, we print it, fold it, insert it into our proprietary USPS approved Certified Mail envelope and put it in the mail for you, without you ever needing to leave your home or office.

You can search for the status of your letters very quickly on our website by clicking on the job name (whatever name you want to assign to your mailing to help you identify it later) and the recipient name, or you can simply search by any part of the recipient’s name or address. Unlike sending Certified Mail at the local Post Office, you don’t have to keep a receipt with the tracking number because all of this information is saved neatly into your LetterStream account.

So, if you are ever in a hurry, or simply hate to wait, use LetterStream to get instant access to the status of your Certified Mail signatures and tracking information.

 

(learn more on our help pages)  (learn more on our website)

Reduce Returned Mail with Address Correction by LetterStream

USPS Return Mail

Some LetterStream customers are already realizing the annual savings created by weeding out and/or correcting undeliverable addresses.

If you acquire new mailing lists (member lists, community lists, etc.), especially from non-qualified list providers, it might be worth a little investment to make sure the addresses that you’ve been provided are valid ones.

Using address correction tools to clean up addresses and discover which ones are incorrect could pay for itself with the first mailing. If the list is used over and over, the savings keep accumulating.

Consider a mailing list of 1,200 names. If 5% of the addresses are undeliverable, you would be wasting more than $25 in postage fees alone, not counting time, paper, printing, envelopes, etc. If you mail to the same list each month, that would add up to hundreds of dollars in no time. Another cost to consider is the time and money wasted handling the return mail; collecting bins of returned mail itself, looking up new addresses, resending documents by hand, shred fees for properly destroying returned mail and environmental impacts.

So, here’s an idea… if you acquire a mailing list or simply get a lot of return mail, try running your mailing list through our address correction tools. You can upload any size mailing list directly to our website for cleaning and we will return the results fast; often in less than 10 minutes. We’ll format the addresses to USPS CASS (Coding Accuracy Support System) standards, correct City and Street spellings, flag undeliverable addresses, and attempt to assign the correct zip code with zip+4 digits.

If you use our Deluxe Address Cleanup, which includes NCOA (National Change of Address) lookups, we can even tell you if the person filed a change of address card with the Post Office, letting you know exactly when they moved and where they moved to.

Reducing returned mail is good for business, good for the pocketbook, and good for your sanity!

Should You Consider Outsourcing Mailing Projects?

outsourcing mailI was working on a proposal this morning for a potential client and found myself pondering the benefits of outsourcing mail room operations and letter shop activities.

For those of you who would like a better printing and mailing solution but are hesitant to enter the world of outsourcing, consider the idea that you are already outsourcing many of your mission critical activities.  Yes, that’s right.  You are already outsourcing a tremendous amount of your business operations.

You are outsourcing the activities of keeping your money safe to your local bank.  You are outsourcing all of your phone conversations to cell and telecom providers.  You are outsourcing your electricity to the power company.  Once you start thinking about it, the only things you don’t outsource are your core competencies… those things that provide uniqueness to your product and a competitive edge to your organization.

Still skeptical?  Check out what other experts say… here’s a good article in Inc Magazine that supports our logic and might shed some additional light.

The question then becomes: Is printing and mailing your competitive advantage?  Is folding and inserting what makes your company unique?

If you’d like to see what it might look like to outsource your printing and mailing activities to an organization as reliable as the local power company and probably more helpful than your banking institution please give us a call and let us show you how our unique and competitive solutions can help you focus more on yours.

See LetterStream At The Arizona Chapter CAI Trade Show

See LetterStream at AZ-CAI trade show

Meet with the LetterStream team at the CAI trade show and learn great new ways to create and send mail, including: HOA violation letters, statements, postcards, invoices, collection notices, intent to lien letters, certified mail, annual meeting notices, newsletters, new homeowner packets and even electronic documents.

LetterStream staff will be available to answer questions about outsourcing your mailing projects and streamlining your outbound mail operations.

New products featured at the show include eDocuments, PRO Postcards and an Android app for creating full color, first-class postcards (see newsletter). Rumor has it that the mysterious Letterman, blog writer extraordinaire, may even be present.

The expo is this Friday, April 12, 2013 from 11:30am to 3:30pm at Rawhide, and will be well attended by property management companies and community managers. Rawhide is located in Chandler, Arizona (5700 West North Loop Rd). To learn more about the Arizona Chapter of CAI, visit their website at www.cai-az.org. To learn more about LetterStream, visit our website at www.LetterStream.com.

Easy HOA Annual Meeting Notice Mailings

HOA annual meeting notices

For Community Managers and Property Management Companies, annual meeting mailings are some of the most complex document sets that need to be mailed to homeowners.

The notice of annual meeting can include a variety of the following documents: cover letter, meeting agenda, draft budget, absentee ballot, community newsletter, ballot instructions, proxy, bios (biographical information) of candidates, community survey, stamped return envelope, and/or secret ballot envelope.

In addition to the different document types, most community managers ask that the proxy be printed on a colored sheet of paper, and the ballot on another. Sometimes there are special instructions from board members to print on both sides of the sheet of paper for some documents, and only print on one side for others.

For those of you who are responsible for the annual meeting packet for your HOA, you know just how crazy these mailings can get. However, for those of you who are already using LetterStream to create your annual meeting announcement, you can attest to just how fast and easy the process has become.

On the LetterStream website you can do the following:

  • Specify paper size and paper color per document
  • Specify 1-sided or 2-sided (simplex/duplex) printing per page
  • Specify black and white or full color printing per sheet
  • Include a return envelope with or without the homeowners return address pre-printed on it
  • Include a secret ballot envelope

What makes this process so easy is that most of the options are simply check boxes that need to be clicked to activate the options.

So whether your HOA annual meeting notices can go out in a standard size business envelope (#10), or require a large flat packet envelope, your mailing can be created online in a flash. If you are a bit skeptical, log in to www.letterstream.com and experiment with our mailing tools to see for yourself.

Your mailing can be created online without so much as a phone call or credit card swipe, and if you don’t like the online proofs, simply delete the job! (You’ll only have to pay for a job if you decide you want us to print and mail it).

Mailing W-2s, 1099s, and/or Charitable Giving Statements?

Tax FormsIt’s January, which means it’s time to send out 1099‘s, W-2‘s, Charitable Giving/Contribution Statements and other tax related documents for the 2012 tax year.

If you are still trying to figure out how to get your documents mailed without mandatory all-night stuffing parties, we might be the right people to call.

With our hi-tech production facility and knowledgeable staff (friendly staff, too), we can take the burden out of printing, folding, stuffing, licking, stamping and mailing your critical documents.

Call us today and get some expert assistance no matter how many (or how few) documents you have.